All Grown Up

Ann's photoWhen I was a child, I truly believed that all adults were mature people who knew what was what in the world.  I may have liked and trusted some grownups more than others, but I still believed that being an adult meant no longer behaving like a child.  I thought that the petty jealousies, the playground competitions and “me first attitudes” I often saw in my peers were things that we would all someday just naturally grow out of.   And then I grew up, and realized that many adults, including me, never truly grow out of some of our childish ways.

I may be a “woman of a certain age,” but there are times when my inner child emerges, and I don’t mean that in a good way.  (Because obviously, children have many, many, good qualities.)  I’m talking about how quickly I can become upset about something trivial, or how easily I can feel slighted, or how quickly I feel cheated when things don’t work out the way I had hoped.  As an adult, I know we’re not guaranteed anything in this world, but my inner child can still become enraged at the thought of not getting “my fair share.”

But those are reactions that I can clearly recognize as being inappropriate, and usually talk myself out of rather easily.  My real struggles come more in the area of wanting someone, anyone, to reassure me when things are going so very wrong.  Like a child, I sometimes want someone to tell me that “everything will be alright” during troubling times.  The problem is, there are times when no one can honestly say that.  Sometimes the only way to deal with trouble is to face it squarely and courageously.

I think that is one of the reasons I’ve been feeling a little down lately.  We’re dealing with so many unknowns right now, and although lots of people have opinions on how things are going to turn out, no one really knows for sure.  There isn’t anyone who can promise just when or how this will all get better.  Heck, we can’t even agree on what “all better” even means these days.  Like children, most of us are looking at things solely from our own point of view and waiting, some more patiently than others, for the rest of the world to adapt to our expectations.

There are times in life when we simply have no choice but to stand on our own two feet, listen to our own heart and make our own choices, knowing full well they might not be the right ones.  And I have come to realize that this is one of those times.  Now is not the time for me to indulge my inner child, looking for someone else to fix things or make sense of an upside down world.  Now is the time to embrace adulthood, with all the freedom and responsibility that comes with it.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally become the grownup my inner child was expecting.

115 thoughts on “All Grown Up

  1. I can relate to this Ann. I think we all have some of that insecure child within us, the one that wants to be reassured and told everything’s going to be okay. But you’re right, that can only come from within now, no one can guarantee anything, with life so turned on it’s heels. Focus on what matters, on your own patch and making that a better place. That’s what I’m trying to do anyway. Sending love and warmest wishes. xx

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    • Thanks, Miriam! I’m sending love and good wishes right back to you. We do need to find our own source of strength now, as no one else and totally reassure us that everything will be okay. But I have also found that the strength and support we give each other helps tremendously. And than you so much for being one of the people I get strength from….I can only hope that I am doing the same for you!

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      • Oh absolutely! Of course you are. Every time I come here and read one of your posts, not only do I relate but I feel a sense of friendship, common values and understanding. So thank you Ann. xx

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  2. I found that if I just handle one day at a time, and I do NOT think about the future, I’m AOK. At night, before I go to sleep I thank God I made it through the day. That’s the way I’ve been handling it and it seems to be working.
    Oh, and i stopped watching the news and most social media.
    Hang in there.
    PS: This is a secret I’ll share with you. Man oh man, do I wish my mother and father were here!! LOL! I’m nearing 70 and wish someone was here too to tell me things are going to be OK. It will. Just take it one step at a time. God shines a light on the step we are on.

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    • Thank you, Cindi! I know that you have had it harder than most of us, for you lost your brother to this terrible disease. Sometimes one day at a time is the best we can do, and that’s okay. Whatever gets us through is what is good. And I don’t blame you one bit for wishing your parents were still here…In hard times, we all need our parents. We just have to remember that they live on in our hearts and are still watching over us and guiding us along the best paths. Peace to you!

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  3. skillfully expressed Ann, we need to take responsibility and not wait for others to “fix” things
    … when we are busy doing that we forget the insecurity doubts and fears ….

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    • I think we’re all looking for that, and all mourning that no one can tell us for sure. At this point, we all just have to do our own risk assessment and act accordingly. My husband is an accountant, so he’s very aware of the damage we have done to our economy with the restrictions. But he is also aware of the risk that the virus poses. So, it’s a matter of finding the middle ground that works for most of us, and each of us figuring out where we fit on that spectrum!

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    • Thanks, Alan! Sadly, I have many more wrinkles now, and if I didn’t dye my hair, I’d be totally grey. But I’m still with you on the adulthood thing….it doesn’t come naturally to me either!

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  4. I think we all have had those moments over the past few months when we wanted someone to fix things. It’s overwhelming to be dealing with so much in such a short span of time.

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    • It really is! On a world level, a national level and a personal level, everything is up in the air, and that can be overwhelming for sure. But sometimes that’s just how life works, and I need to figure out how to deal with it. And remember to look for the bright spots even in these uncertain times (dang, I sound like a commercial, don’t I?) because there are ALWAYS bright spots!

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  5. I think just about all of us are struggling with unknowns (and those who say they aren’t struggling are not being truthful). Unfortunately our angst won’t go away with soothing words, a hug, and maybe a glass of warm milk (although I wouldn’t turn down any of those things 🙂 ). My husband and I say that we are in the “who the hell knows?” phase of our lives. Many of us who were used to living with at least some sense of control and comfort are feeling the ground beneath us shift. Personal resilience will serve us best… that hasn’t changed.

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    • Oh, I so agree, Janis! Those who don’t admit to struggling aren’t being honest. It’s pretty much a world-wide thing right now. No one has a clue right now. But all we can do is be resilient and hopeful. Because you’re right, that hasn’t changed at all.

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  6. The idea that decisions must be right or wrong can be paralyzing. I try to make the best decisions based on my knowledge at that time. If it proves to be an error, I attempt to corrrect it. Most decisions are not life or death and most can be set to right (if we are adult enough to admit we were wrong)… Still there are moments when I think “I want my mommy” so you are NOT alone!

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    • You are so right! When I think of decisions as permanent, I can’t make them. When I realize they are temporary, and I can make adjustments as I get new information, then it is all doable. And yeah, I think we all “want our mommy” now and then! Which I guess is just a tribute to their mothering skills……

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  7. Ann, I appreciate your honesty. Regardless of my growth and strategies, sometimes I step backward. This is part of being human, it is how we learn. What matters to me is that I keep going forward bravely taking responsibility and forgiving. What matters most to you?I am using this time to challenge my own thinking in ways I never have before. Every day I am alive is an opportunity to love and support someone.

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    • Ali, you hit the nail on the head, as usual. I love the idea of being so intentional about moving bravely forward and taking responsibility for ourselves and being forgiving and tolerant of others. I’m trying to open my mind to new ways of thinking, and am sometimes more successful than others. But I guess what counts most is that I keep trying. Thanks for being one of those people who always gives me something to think about, and always shows me a new way to be grateful for what I have.

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      • I work as a life coach who listens for each person’s strengths and shines a light on them. It is easy to get stuck on what isn’t working in our lives.
        You are authentic. You are committed to growing as a person. You care about others. I have no doubt that you make a difference to many every day. Take good care. Sending loving strength your way.

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  8. I think (after seeing a news report yesterday out of St Louis that was rather shocking) that there are many people right now reacting like small children. Like who in their right minds would go outside with an AR15 and a lady with a pistol and start waving them around and yelling? Really? Why would the St Louis mayor (who is suppose to be a leader) publish names and addresses of people who have asked for defunding the police? Sorry Ann, but this hasn’t gone well for promoting common sense adult behavior. Here in Europe people think that the Americans have lost their flipping minds and that it is utter chaos there. As an American living here I also really don’t know what to think anymore. The wait could be a long long time. It is one of the reasons that some people in government feared a pandemic more than nuclear war. The simulations never have a solution and it is only controlling the chaos of fearful people. Good leadership would help. Lack of leadership or poor leadership choices in a time like this are deadly. I am certain that this will change all of us for a very long time. Just like 911 changed the American outlook of the world this pandemic will change the world and touch every one of us on the planet, hopefully positive change.

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  9. Personally, I really struggle with letting go. As someone with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, I sometimes feel a total failure when I can’t figure what constitutes making things better, not to mention having the wherewithal to carry out any kind of plan. Thongs are often not within my power; so what’s a small thing I *can* offer up? Someday…

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    • I understand, Liz. I also have a tendency to think that it’s up to me to “fix” everything, which does make life harder than it has to be. Sometimes we just have to remember to do the best we can, within our limitations. It’s recognizing those limitations that makes the difference, I think.

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  10. It is an understandable feeling, the want for reassurance, and I think it is only enhanced by the media (social and news agencies). If only I had a penny every time someone at BBC said “people need assurances” to send their children to school or to visit their doctor. If we all could assume responsibility for what we do, then we could come out stronger after this pandemic.

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    • I totally agree! We’re looking for reassurances that simply aren’t there right now. This is a new situation that we’re having to learn how to handle, and that does mean we need to make our own choices and be willing to live with the consequences of those choices. That’s what being an adult is all about, even if people don’t always do it. Thanks for the comment!

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  11. All I ever wanted to be was an adult. Mostly because I hated my living situation as a child, which is sad. We were one of those families that looked good from the outside. Last year my older daughter turned 36 and my sister reminded me that it was the age I always wanted to be! Which cracked me up, cause I didn’t remember that, but I know it was true.It was the significant number of being older, and being “away” from everything I knew. I know I’m off on a tangent, but your post made me think of that! Adults can be very childish. I, personally, sometimes don’t like sharing!!!!

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    • I’m actually glad that you shared that, because I think lots of people can relate. Childhood had its good moments for most of us, but even people from the most stable families often yearned to be an adult when they were young, because children have so little control over their lives. And I really did think that all adults would “act like an adult”….it was a huge shock when I realized that wasn’t the case at all!

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  12. You’ve written what I’ve been thinking, too. Where is someone who I respect saying: “everything will be alright”? And how have things gotten to a point in this country where I’m reminded of my less-than-pleasant childhood classmates? I hope that, like you, I’m able to be the adult I need to be right now. Times demand it.

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    • They really do! We certainly don’t have reassuring, level-headed leadership right now, but even if we did, they couldn’t honestly say “everything will be fine, and this will all be over soon.” Because no one knows! This is a new situation and we’re just doing the best we can. I get extra annoyed at the politicians (both sides) who are using this pandemic for political gain and exposure right now, because it just seems so crass. Yes, I know it’s an election year and they have to work for votes, but it still bothers me. I guess it’s up to us to be adults?

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  13. Beautifully expressed Ann. With so much uncertainty surrounding us, I suspect it is a very natural feeling to harken back to our childhood feelings of someone wrapping their arms around us, assuring us that everything will be okay.

    I miss so many things from prepandemic days but live in hope that at some point, we will once again resume a more “normal “ sense of day to day life.

    In the meantime, I am sending you a big reassuring hug my friend. Xoxo

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    • Thank you Lynn! I do know that our lives will become much more normal in the future, even if we don’t know exactly when. In the meantime, we just do the best we can. Support from blogging friends helps so much…thanks for being one of those special and giving friends!

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  14. Great post as always. Here’s what I’ve learned. Speak out if something bothers you. Live life on your own terms. Tread carefully when others are concerned.

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  15. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ann. Growing up and becoming mature and responsible adults are not automatically the same. There has to be the will to change for the better and to carry on with a sense of purpose even in times where we fail. Your post has been thought-provoking for me and all your other friends who have left comments above.

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    • Yes, it was a shock when I realized that emotional maturity doesn’t automatically show up when we reach a certain age. It really is something we have to work on, and of course we have to want to become mature or we don’t even work at it. But, we can’t control anyone except ourselves, so I have to start with the person I see in the mirror… Thanks for the comment, Peter!

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  16. That is very beautifully written, Ann. It happens to me as well when I lose my patience and let the inner child speak up. However, what I do recently to help overcome all the uncertainty is to visualize embracing my inner child in my arms and tell her that I will protect her, no matter what.

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  17. We all carry a vulnerable child within us – it’s OK to be gentle with ourselves and offer ourselves reassurance. Actually, at a time like this it’s essential. I think sometimes we don’t have to do much more than that – the child just wants to be heard. It’s great you gave her a voice in this post, Ann.

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    • That’s a good point, Julie! Maybe if we just give our inner child a voice now and then, but don’t let her dictate our actions, we’ll be just fine. You and Svet both pointed out the need to protect that child rather than stifle her, which I think is a big step in the right direction. I’m going to think about that…. What I love most about blogging is that my readers can add so many interesting and relevant points to the posts!

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      • It’s great, isn’t it? So interesting to read other bloggers’ perspectives, especially with something like this. I think we can sometimes be impatient and frustrated with our vulnerable child within because they seem needy, but it’s important to treat them like a loving parent would – with compassion and tenderness.

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    • I know! I want someone to say, “Oh, yeah, we’ll have this virus beat by August 17, and the economy will recover by Oct 23, and we’ll all be better people for the experience. I really do! But that’s not going to happen, so we just have to figure out the best way to cope with it, and trust that the future really will bring answers eventually. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Sometimes I think the brutally honest voice of the inner child can be refreshing, even helpful at times. Sorry to hear you’ve been down a bit lately…if it’s any consolation, I’ve noticed the same feelings in myself and my own family. Thanks Ann, your post gave me lots of things to think about!

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    • I think you’re right, Des! Svet and Julie pointed that out too. I think the trick is to hear it and acknowledge it, but not necessarily act on it. I think we’ve all been a bit down lately as things drag on and on, but overall, life is still good.

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  19. Ann, you’ve captured perfectly in this post, what so many people are thinking and feeling right now! If we try to deal with it just day by day we will encourage ourselves and be a source of encouragement for others too! Xx

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  20. I think we’re grieving a hidden loss, Ann. That’s why the child in us is coming out so insistently; it’s hard to imagine that life may not go back to the beautiful it was before. Maybe it would have been easier to cope with this new normal had we been younger but with age, I think all we want is stability and for old routines to remain.

    Instead, the ground is shaking beneath us.

    In my part of the world, the old life wasn’t all that great, but this new one we’ve been shoved into is far worse. More than 3 months of lockdown has brought out the worst in the community here. Sometimes it seems as if they feel life is about to end for them – and they’re in a frenzy to make the most of what is left – not caring about who they irritate and upset as they seek their last joys. Sprawler’s revelry at its worst.

    I’m burrowing deeper into work, Ann. That’s my way of coping at work, my way of trying to carve out some sanity in my place of work. Once home, with my husband and kids, I reclaim my bit of heaven.

    Even with the ground shaking beneath us, I think there are still some things we can hold on to and hold on tight.

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    • Yes, it many people it has brought out worst in there here, too. People are angry and so willing to lash out at anyone who disagrees with them. I think enforced confinement plus fear of this virus has just pushed many over the edge. And those who are still hanging on to sanity find their behavior alarming, to say the least. So it really does feel as if the ground is shaking beneath us!
      We just need to focus on the good, support each other and trust God. That is the best way to get through this, I think!

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  21. Ann, these are certainly the most uncertain and unusual times. One of the factors though that I find so interesting is how globally we are all, in some way or another, going through the same fears and uncertainties together. Of course it is way harder for many who don’t have many of the basic things we all take for granted, like running water and access to health care, but aside from that, we are all having to rethink things and accept things as they are.

    I think that inner child you speak of, stays with us always… the outer shell, our bodies age, but the inner child, is still and always just that. And so we need to take care of ourselves and protect our inner voice and anxieties and fears and tell ourselves, that yes, “this too shall pass”, it “will all be okay, somehow or another.”

    Peta

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    • Thank you so much for this comment, Peta! I am learning that protecting and validating my inner child really isn’t such a bad thing. I do realize that I am very lucky to have the resources to deal with this, especially when so many people don’t. But I’m learning that it is still okay to be upset by it, and to realize that I must accept it, and most importantly, to understand that this won’t be forever. As usual, your wisdom is so helpful and appreciated! And so glad to hear that you and your husband are okay…..

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  22. Ann, these are certainly the most uncertain and unusual times. I think that the inner child in all of us, actually always stays just that…. an inner child. The voice that speaks in our head and causes our stomach to hurt with fear and anxiety. We have to somehow find a way to speak to our inner child and assure it that “this too shall pass” and “somehow.. somehow it will all work out”.

    Peta

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  23. Oh Ann… How I wish I could just shout and cry and throw tantrums so that someone would come and fix things for me… I don’t want to be a grown up and know that there is actually so little freedom and there is so little that adults can actually fix.
    Tough times have taken a toll on all of us..

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    • You are so right, Deepa!! That is what we all want. And yet I have come to believe that most of us really do have the strength to deal with this, and to get through it. The support we give one another makes all the difference. And it is what will prevail in the end!

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  24. always finding nuggets of wisdom when I get to read your post. thank you for something good and real to think about 🙂❤️

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  25. One of my goals is to be my own best friend which includes embracing my inner child. Adulting is hard. I’m reminded of Veronica Shoffstall’s “After A While” – so you plant your own flowers and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers…

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  26. Hmm, you’re giving me some good stuff to think about, Ann. Truthfully, I’ve been trying to bring out my inner child more, not less! As adults we have learned that grown-ups know LESS than children do in many ways. I like watching my young grandchildren trying to figure out the world and in many ways seeing the world more honestly than “grown-ups”’do, who try to put people and situations into little boxes. The world is full of colors and light and darkness that adults at times try to hide. But, on the other hand, it’s true that we are more insecure as children and we want others to solve our problems when we are children. I guess I just want a MATURE inner child to help
    me along the way. 😉

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    • Yes, I think when I talk about not indulging my inner child, I’m talking about behavior that is immature and selfish (which I’m seeing far too much of these days). But there are certainly lots of good aspects to our inner children as well: the ability to live in the moment, take joy in simple things and not over-analyze everything. I’m reminded of that whenever I babysit for my grandson, and watch how he can be absolutely fascinated by something as simple as flipping on a light switch, or how he’ll suddenly stop what he’s doing, run over to me and fling his arms around me, saying “Gramma!!!!” That’s the sort of thing we can use more of!

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  27. Adulthood was like the magic key to everything for me when I was a kid, I mean what don’t adults have? Over time I realised that although being an adult is a beautiful journey, you end alone at certain points, questioning yourself and sometimes having nobody around to help you answer those questions. And I realised that maybe I did miss being a kid. The grass is always greener on the other side but every now and then it’s fun to bring out the little kid in you, even if it means watching a Disney movie or acting childish, the trick is to get the perfect balance 🙂

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    • I absolutely agree! We need to hang on to the positive aspects of our inner child, but let go of the egocentric way of looking at things, and the impatience. Balance is the key between the two. Sometimes I struggle to achieve that balance, but I guess as long as I’m trying, I won’t do too badly. Thanks for the comment!

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  28. You are so right Ann! Now is the time to listen to our own hearts and react in a way that seems reasonable to us. We are each unique and see things from a different perspective. When we are true to ourselves we can cope so much better with any given situation. We cannot always change the situation we find ourselves in; we can however, choose how to deal with that predicament on our own terms.

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    • I agree, Linda! When I pay too much attention to other people’s opinions, I just find myself getting a bit depressed and frustrated. But I’m an adult now, and need to stand on my own two feet: which means listening to my heart and trusting my own judgement. And that helps enormously! Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

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  29. Isn’t it strange that no matter how old we are we all still want reassurances at different points in our lives. I think what you mention about all that’s going on in the world today is a perfect example. So much confusion, mistrust, anger, misinformation, unrest and yes, even hatred. We all have to find ways to adjust our lives, which we have done in the past, just not in as a restricting way. Sometimes we have to be ready to move forward and address life and sometimes we have to be ready to react as best we can when life approaches us. My guess is you’ll find a way..:)

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    • Thanks, George! I think there is a part of us that never stops wanting someone else to be in charge, and to reassure us that all will be well. (Probably explains why adults still have heroes and are just a little bit gullible at times.) But yes, we can adjust and we can learn to trust our own judgement and our own heart, and that is the best way forward. When I find myself wanting to lash out in frustration, I just think, “will this help? Or will this make a bad situation even worse?” Because I really do think if we can all just remember that helping and supporting each other is what will make a positive difference, then we will move forward so much faster!

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  30. I can relate, Ann. The uncertainty is what gets to me. This is unlike anything we’ve faced and so there’s nothing to fall back on and use as a guide to the future, which I would find comforting. No one knows what’s going to happen. Sigh. We don’t have much choice other than to face it like rational adults and be gentle with the scared, floundering child inside us. ❤

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    • I know! It amazes me how many people speak with such absolute certainty about what the future holds, because the truth is, no one knows. Not even the experts. And I especially like your last sentence. It is so true! We need to be rational adults while still caring for our inner children, who are scared and uncertain. Thanks for this comment!

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  31. I also have a lot of trouble with the uncertainty. Limbo has always been my least favorite place. With COVID, my state is one of the few whose numbers are declining, yet I’m aware I or any of my family members could still get it, could die from it. The university where I work I know is doing it’s best to make decisions about students, staff, and faculty returning, but with things changing week to week, decisions come late and could change on a moment’s notice. It feels so tiresome sometimes being a grown up. I have fantasies sometimes of just being able to have someone else take care of everything – making money, making decisions, even just figuring out meals and groceries. We are all tired in our own way. I posted on another blog that it feels like our country needs one long vacation, but we haven’t even begun to get over all of this.

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    • That is so true, Kim! I think a lot of the crazy behavior we’re seeing now comes from people just being so tired of all the uncertainty and fear, and so they are choosing to just shut it out of their minds. Not a great decision, of course, but I think it really is some people’s way of coping. If only our country could have a vacation, I think we’d all be better off! Until then, we just have to do our best to cope and act like rational, caring adults!

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  32. Some days are so hard. I have so many ups and downs. Just when I think I am ok – BOOM – out of nowhere comes that uncertainty – that melancholy – that sadness for seemingly no reason. I try to focus on the small blessings – the little things to cherish that make up a great life. But it is not always easy. Thanks for affirming or confirming that many of us feel this same way. Hugs sweet lady!! Virtual air hugs of course. ❤

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    • I think we are all feeling as if we’re riding on an emotional roller coaster these days, and sometimes we handle it better than others. The sadness you feel does have a reason: it’s the grief for the lifestyle we no longer have, and for the ability to plan for a future that has become completely uncertain. So we do need to be gentle with ourselves and compassionate with each other, as much as we can. Virtual hugs right back to you, Jodi!!!!

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  33. I suspect this is why so many folks take up religion; to provide the ultimate Mommy and/or Daddy to turn to when solace is needed. Of course, that requires certain beliefs, or depending on how you look at it, suspension of beliefs.

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